A senior Hamas delegation headed to Cairo on Monday for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials on ways of achieving “national reconciliation” with the rival Fatah faction and averting an all-out military confrontation with Israel in the Gaza Strip.Headed by Saleh Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas’s “political bureau,” the delegation also consists of Musa Abu Marzouk, Khalil al-Haya, Rouhi Mushtaha, Ezzat al-Risheq and Hussam Badran.On Sunday, a senior Fatah delegation headed by Azzam al-Ahmned arrived in Cairo for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials on Egypt’s latest proposal to end the Hamas-Fatah rivalry.United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also visited Cairo last weekend as part of his effort to prevent another war between Israel and Hamas.Palestinian sources said the Egyptians have stepped up their pressure on Hamas and Fatah to end their dispute and agree on the implementation of the “reconciliation accord” they signed in Cairo in October 2017. The two rival parties have since been arguing over the interpretations of the agreement.
Fatah says that Hamas was refusing to hand over control of the entire Gaza Strip to the Ramallah-based PA government. Hamas, for its part, has rejected demands to disarm and allow the PA to redeploy its security forces in the Strip. Hamas has also accused the PA of failing to lift the sanctions it imposed on Gaza last year.Mahmoud al-Aloul, the deputy head of Fatah, said on Monday that there was “nothing new” with regards to the issue of the controversy with Hamas. He said that the Fatah delegation in Cairo was discussing mechanisms for the implementation of previous agreements signed with Hamas. He described the current Egyptian mediation efforts as an attempt to “move the still water” and “break the stalemate.”Fatah sources told the Al-Arabi al-Jadeed online newspaper that the faction had some reservations about the latest Egyptian initiative. Fatah, the sources said, insists that Hamas hands control over the Gaza Strip to the PA government “all in one” and not gradually. “If Hamas is serious about the reconciliation and unity, it should fully hand over control of the entire Gaza Strip,” the sources said. “After that, the discussions over the formation of a Palestinian unity government would be launched.”The sources added that Fatah was also opposed to the demand that the PA government absorb members of Hamas’s security apparatuses in the Strip. The Hamas security forces report to its military wings, the sources noted.In addition, Fatah continues to insist on the disarmament of Hamas and all armed groups, the sources said. Fatah is also opposed to the idea of allowing Hamas to collect taxes and tariffs in the Gaza Strip, they added.
Palestinian rivals Fatah, Hamas sign reconciliation accord, October 12 2017.